MCP boomerang dish
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s
MCP [Modern Ceramic Products] started production in the 1940s, in Redfern, Sydney. The simple geometric forms of their vases have a very modernist styling and each has a highly textured exterior finish which contrasts with the smooth internal glaze. The two-toned aesthetic meant each vase could be made in a wide range of iterations- albeit along the 50s spectrum of baby blue, pale pink, pale yellow and pastel green.
This is a boomerang dish, with the usual MCP textured green exterior and smooth pink interior. Like most 50s pottery, the fine edge between the two glazes is described in white. So elegant. The boomerang shape was a 50s staple: not only was it ‘Australian’ but it had the added benefit of being ‘unusual’; not a pure geometric shape like most round or square dishes.
The dish was used to serve sweets; but here I have loaded it with bakelite teaspoons from the same era. I like the colours; the spoons are Tilley bakelite, also made in Sydney. Tilley specialised in cutlery, especially picnicware [and I have collected quite a bit.]
The MCP boomerang dish is in excellent vintage condition, and is for sale: $AU45
As you know, I collect Australian pottery made by Diana- the post-war pottery was situated very near where I now live in Sydney. I collect the ‘Australiana’ pottery in colours of eucalypt green and bark brown- but the same vase shape came in a multitude of colours to suit the changing interiors of post-war Australia.
Here are two posy vases- or ring vases- which display floating flowers [rather than stemmed flowers] and a small matching vase. The deep crimson and powder blue colours are SO 50s; but the geometric patterning on these vases harks back to the 20s and Art Deco. The same shaped vases were made well into the 70s, when they were handpainted [quite garishly, natch] with Australian flora.
Diana produced ‘art pottery’ from 1940 to 1975. The pottery is unique in that it only produced art and domestic pottery products, rather than having antecedents in industrial pottery. I have a number [she said, modestly] of Diana pieces featured on this blog; jugs, pudding bowls, ramekins, casserole dishes, platters, coffee pots…and vases.
This collection of vases is for sale: $AU75 [the small vase has original Diana sticker]
Lyndale Moss pottery
made in Melbourne, Australia 1950s
It’s Australia Day! Not celebrated or acknowledged by all Australians- but – who could resist this Australiana?
These are Lyndale Moss gum-leaf vases, and a eucalypt vase. It’s the 50s, and nationalism is starting to become a cultural force. Art potteries everywhere are forgoing the English rose for Australian-themed flora. And producing vases in all manner of colours [to suit the 50s décor]: pink, blue, yellow, black, spotted and drip-glazed: but for my money, the lovely matt-white is the best.
Lyndale didn’t sign the pottery- they relied on semi-permanent stickers [in gilt writing, no less] to note the maker. It’s rare that these stickers survived from the 50s, so if you find one with the sticker in-tact- you are sitting on a gold mine.
Happy Australia Day! Wherever and however you celebrate; these vases are for sale: $AU45
A fantastic set of Studio Anna pieces – across the states of Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria.
Studio Anna established their pottery in Sydney in the early 50s, and then proceeded to market to all states in Australia. Studio Anna is recognised by the hand-signed, and hand-drawn images- incised into the pottery.
Here we have a jug, “The Oasis, Brisbane”, with a pin dish “Tasmanian Devil” and then a plate “Bright, VIC”.
All recognised as Studio Anna work, but not hallmarked as such- each of the pieces are early, and small- and so don’t lend themselves to backstamps or labels.
I have numerous posts of other Studio Anna works- because it’s gorgeous and collectable- and Australiana and – contextual and botanica…
This collection of three Studio Anna pieces: $AU80 Buy Now
Studio Anna ‘Pincushion Hakea’ plate
made in Sydney, Australia 1950s
I am particularly drawn to kitsch pottery that has landscape or botanical images…so Studio Anna art pottery from the 50s is right up my street! I have posted Studio Anna pottery previously- you might remember that it was situated right near where I now live, in inner-Sydney.
Studio Anna started producing souvenir ware and art pottery in 1953, eventually closing in 1999. They produced a huge range of handpainted ceramics featuring landscapes, landmarks, flora, fauna and aboriginal motifs. I have in my collection – and have posted on this blog- examples of almost all their work.
This plate with its inscribed in white cursive text on the lower right ‘Pincushion Hakea’ [Hakea laurina, fyi, a native of Western Australia] is rare and unusual in that the background is a stippled pink- normally the background to the image was a flat-glazed colour. The short-lived [and thus rare] stippling period is supposed by many authorities to be a reaction to other competing 50s art potters – who all used the flat colour background in their work.
The other unusual- rare- thing about this plate is its form: it is unusually large, and sits on four ceramic legs made integral with the back of the plate. These little legs don’t normally survive but this larger plate- with its proportionally larger legs has. The plate is in excellent condition – it could have been made yesterday.
The rare and unusual Studio Anna plate is for sale: $AUD90
This is a pair of small vases by Harry Whyte for Gunda Pottery, which manufactured ceramic art pieces out of Melbourne in the 50s and 60s. The aboriginal motifs were produced for the souvenirware trade, and while the pair were sold as a pair- they are slightly different in form and motif.
Both pieces are hand-signed by Harry Whyte ‘HW’ on the base; Harry didn’t always sign his work believing the forms and motifs to be quite avant-garde and so instantly recognisable as his work. Certainly the organic forms of the vases were very contemporary for the 50s.
My collection contains a fair few Aboriginal motifs…once considered to be in very poor taste, these 50s pieces are old and retro enough to be viewed as kitsch through the ironic lens of post-modernism. Cultural appropriation ain’t what it used to be!
The pair of Australian pottery is very collectible, and is for sale: $AUD75
Wembley Ware ‘Golden Fleece’ merino
made in Perth, Australia 1950s
Wembley Ware pottery operated from 1946 to 1961 in Perth, Western Australia – and produced a “Fancy Ware Range” featuring Australian flora and fauna. I particularly like this merino dish because it’s an early example of advertising ware AND Australiana.
The Golden Fleece service stations operated across Australia from 1913 to the 1970s- and you guessed it- their logo was a gold merino sheep. Golden Fleece was the first single-branded service station, with a bright yellow sheep atop each petrol pump. The sheep was modeled on a certain ‘David of Dalkeith’- a Royal Agricultural Show winner in 1952.
I know all this due to a) Wembley Ware being highly collectible and having a number of fan sites – as well as its own facebook page- and b) Golden Fleece memorabilia is also very collectible and having a renaissance of sorts at the moment.
The dish is in great condition; zoom on the image and see the shiny gilt of the merino! I have seen the same dish for sale an antique shop for $165- but for you, gentle reader- the Golden Fleece dish is for sale for $AUD95.
Diana coffee pot & vase
made in Sydney, Australia c.1950s
I have posted Diana pottery before…I am very partial to Diana as it was made in a pottery that operated in Marrickville, Sydney from 1940 to 1975- very close to where I now live. These two pieces are quintessentially 50s pieces – the vase has a lovely mottled grey outer colour and a beautiful yellow inner. The yellow is repeated in the coffee pot’s lid, the two-toned theme being popular in the 50s.
The shapes of the pieces are also very 50s- the funky asymmetric form of the vase and the tilted line of the coffee pot. You’ll notice that the vase still has its original Diana sticker – stickers tend to make a piece more valuable, and it’s in perfect condition. Likewise the coffee pot, which has never been used.
Regulars to my blog will know that I collect Diana- from the 40s in the colour marking of green and brown [this evidencing my nationalistic streak] and while I love these pieces, they are not part of my permanent collection.
A lovely set of farm animals made in timber, hand-painted and detailed in leather. Each piece has been made from a single piece of timber, and the timber grain adds to the impression of hair, fur or feathers.
70s artisan design at its best, this set is for sale: $AUD25.
made in Sydney, Australia c.1940s-1950s
I have posted about Pates pottery previously [sorry, couldn’t help the alliteration] – but not, I think, the pink and green speckled Pates pottery.
Pates Pottery operated out of Belmore, Sydney from 1946 -1990, quite close to where I now live. Pates’ designs and colours were influenced by the 1950s furnishing and domestic colour trends; so these three vases are instantly recognisable as coming from the 50s.
The set comprises a ring ‘floating’ flower vase- with deco stylings, an upright vase with exaggerated lip and a floating flower ‘log’ vase. I don’t really understand the ‘log’ vase- but it is so associated with the 50s and was so ubiquitous that I have come to embrace its slightly kitschy realism.